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Good neighbors

The summer before last, I had a run-in with one of our neighbors over a blackberry bush. I am not usually the type of person who has run-ins, much less run-ins over fruit-bearing vegetation, but she started it. Have I told you about our mean, nasty, blackberry-hoarding neighbor? No? Well, pull up a chair. And bring a spoon, because I have some blackberry frozen yogurt in the freezer, and unlike some people, I don’t mind sharing.

We had moved into our apartment only a couple of months before, and with summer heading into its fullest flush, we noticed a thicket of blackberry bushes in one corner of the backyard. Needless to say, this was very exciting. The best part was, they were huge. Our yard is fenced on only two sides, and the bushes were sufficiently large that, on one of the unenclosed sides, they formed a partial wall along the property line. As walls go, it was somewhat ugly and unkempt, but it was covered in blackberries. Covered.

So we started picking, and then we picked some more. We made blackberry sorbet and a batch of jam. One afternoon, I decided to make some scones, so I went out with an empty Tupperware to harvest a little more. I was hunched over, picking intently on our side of the bush-wall, daydreaming about baked goods and probably humming something innocent and uplifting, when I heard footsteps. I looked up to see our next-door neighbor, the one whose yard adjoins the bushes, marching across the lawn. She came to a stop a few feet away, looked me up and down, and then spat, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Stunned, I giggled nervously and explained that we had just moved in, and that I had this great scone recipe that my sister had given me, and that I wanted to make a batch with fresh blackberries, and giggle giggle giggle.

“Well, this is my bush,” she snapped. “I planted it. And I use it every summah to make blackberry cooorrdial.” [In my mind, when I replay our conversation, I give her an upper-class British accent, even though she doesn’t have one. I think it makes her seem especially stern, don’t you? Like a strict governess, or maybe Queen Elizabeth.]

I wish I could tell you that I had a smart retort at the ready, or that I shot her down by pointing out that this particular side of the bush fell on my property or that blackberries are, in this part of the country, a non-native invasive weed, not something that one generally plants. In fact, they are considered a Weed of Concern by King County - I love that term, “Weed of Concern” - and if she did indeed plant these bushes, my (tall, imposing) landlord would probably like to have a word with her and, possibly, request that she pay a gardener to remove the bushes from my side of the property line.

Unfortunately, I only thought of these things after I had skulked away and gone inside to lie down and contemplate the general cruelty of the universe. I also contemplated the Robert Frost poem “Mending Wall” and its wise line, “Good fences make good neighbors.” I love our delicate bush-wall, but for a minute there, I wished for something a little more substantial, like wood or brick or stone. Preferably with barbed wire on top.

Of course, I am able to tell you this now because our neighbor is no longer our neighbor. She still owns the property next door, but she moved out about a year ago and rented it to a couple of girls who are not only nice, but whose wardrobes and hair I covet. And last Friday afternoon, when it was scorchingly hot and all the blackberries were fat and warm, I took my Tupperware and went picking. I came back inside a half hour later with one pound of berries - having also, in that time, had a very nice conversation, pet a cute pug, been invited to a party, and received a glass of lemonade. I feel much better about everything.

And while I can’t exactly spread the good will by inviting you to the party, which already happened, or by sharing the lemonade, which I already drank, I am happy to pass along the recipe for the frozen yogurt that I made from the blackberries. I based it on David’s recipe for strawberry frozen yogurt, which I made twice last month and highly, highly recommend. It’s not frozen yogurt in the Pinkberry sense, so don’t start expecting a mound of rippling soft-serve, but it is utterly delicious - and, in my book, so much better. Also, it’s dead-easy. You macerate the berries in sugar and a small splash of vodka, puree them with plain yogurt and lemon juice, and freeze. That’s all. Think sorbet, essentially, but with a gentle roundness and soft tang from the addition of yogurt. Our friend Ben declared it “terrif,” for which we teased him mercilessly. He was right, though, and assuming that our good neighbors agree, I think I will make another batch this week.

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt
Inspired by The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz

1 pound fresh blackberries, rinsed
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vodka
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl, toss the blackberries with the sugar and vodka, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

In a blender, process the blackberries and their liquid with the yogurt and lemon juice until smooth. (I generally do this in two batches; it seems to work better that way.) Place a mesh sieve over a medium bowl, and pour the mixture through the sieve to remove the seeds. Taste. It should be a little too sweet at this point, but that’s good; it will taste less sweet when frozen.

Refrigerate the mixture for one hour. Then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Yield: 1 scant quart


Blogger Zoomie said...

I'm glad the Wicked Witch is gone from your little berried Oz. Enjoy!

8:20 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Caroline said...

This sounds delicious. We just got an ice cream maker not too long ago, and I have been looking for a good frozen yogurt recipe. I can't wait to try it. Thank you for posting all these wonderful recipes and stories every week. I really enjoy reading your blog.

8:37 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Paulina said...

Yummy! I just bought an ice cream maker this summer, and everything that has come out of that machine is 1) delicious, 2) disappears in a flash, and 3) from David's book. Blackberry frozen yogurt sounds amazing; I can't wait to try it!

9:01 PM, August 18, 2008  
Anonymous Jen said...

Ahh, revenge . . . a dish best served cold, with a splash of vodka and the tang of plain yogurt . . .
Frost was wrong: good neighbors, not good fences, make good neighbors.


9:29 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

I love blackberries and this looks so delightful in that adorable little drinking glass. Would you believe I have a set of the same glasses in my cupboard?

9:33 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Samarahuel said...

Yet another reason I wish I had an ice cream maker.

10:00 PM, August 18, 2008  
Anonymous Rebecca Leone said...

Molly, it's Rebecca. Anytime, and I mean ANYTIME, anyone, and I mean ANYONE, gives you any trouble, and I mean ANY TROUBLE, call me. Consider me your personal thug, you hear me Little Bird? I got your blackberry-pickin' ass covered, from Bellingham to Astoria and all points beyond and between. I seriously hate Ballard; this would have never happened on Queen Anne. Never.

10:17 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger LadyConcierge said...

Great post! Makes me want to run out and buy an ice cream maker.

10:34 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger shayna said...

mmmmyum. i just finished a cup of blackberry buttermilk ice cream and this is next up on the list. thank goodness for mean neighbors that move and leave you their blackberry bushes!

10:36 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Wendy said...

I have a similarly grumpy neighbour with beautiful plum and apple trees. He lets the fruit rot on the tree yet doesn't want me to have it. This is why, come September, you'll find me up before dawn pilfering his produce!

11:45 PM, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Gemma said...

This sounds delicious. I was never that fond of blackberries as they were always only used for blackberry and apply crumble in our house and I wasn't one for hot apple desserts as a child but that is thankfully changing now and I ate some delicious blackberry ice-cream last week. Anyway, I don't have an ice-cream maker mostly because it would be too dangerous so I may need to try making this without.

2:09 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Victoria said...

Geez. Blackberry yogurt sounds way better than blackberry cordial. Actually, lemonade (possibly spiked) sounds way better than blackberry cordial.

When I saw the title of your post I thought "Robert Frost." Of course it was - you are a poet too. Although I guess now your poems are most often on the plate!

Good one.

4:01 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Luisa said...

Oooh, that makes me so mad! I am retroactively mad on your behalf! Mean, mean blackberry-hoarding neighbor-lady. How nice that you have new neighbors now, and fro-yo to soothe your nerves. xo

4:35 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous radish said...

"something in me that doesn't love a wall." It's one of my absolute favorite poems!! How mean was your neighbor!! Wow. I, too, would have been speechless on the spot, but no doubt would have come up with something clever to retort with, much later...

4:38 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Kitchen Flavours said...

Making me drool. Yummy

5:18 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Mama JJ said...

I'm picking up a bushel of nectarines this morning---I wonder if they would work well in this recipe. I don't see why not... (I'm talking to myself). But then that means I have frozen yogurt to make, along with the green beans that need snapping, the tomatoes that needs roasting, and sauced and salsa-ed, the two bushels of Summer Rambos that need to be turned into sauce. Maybe if I make the frozen yogurt first, then it can be my sweet reward at the end of today. If I'm still awake. (And no, I'm not going to get all that done in one day, though I'm going to try my darndest.)

Oh, and speaking of good neighbors, on my pre-dawn run/walk this morning I spoke to a man down the road and asked him if those two giant pear trees that were loaded down with fruit were his. Yes, they were. Was he going to do anything with them? No. Could I have them. Yes. Two pear trees all for me! Drying, canning, freezing.... Can you believe my luck? More work! Yay!

5:27 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

This is exactly what I've been looking for, Molly. Thanks!

We have a special guest coming over next week (a well-known writer who is notoriously into all things food) and I was looking for a simple, lovely dessert for the meal.

This will do nicely.


5:31 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:32 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Sarah Beam said...

That mean old neighbor. Where I come from, sharing is expected. I remember my shock and horror the first time I asked someone for a recipe and I was DENIED. I begged and pleaded, but was rebuffed almost rudely (this wasn't a restaurant recipe mind you - just a fudge recipe that an acquaintance had come up with). My feelings were hurt.

That said, if you ever make your way to Athens GA, I would not only let you pick delicious wild blackberries from all over my property, but I'd also tidy up the guest room for you as well.

6:03 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger ames said...

Yikes, what a horrid person. I'm so glad she's not in your life anymore, and that you can have blackberries once again. Besides, don't you live in Seattle, where blackberries are just everwhere? (I am so envious). The yoghurt looks fantastic!!

6:07 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Kim said...

I always come up with a good response long after the altercation occured, as well. Glad the neighbor moved and you are back picking from this yummy "weed of concern". Cute story and my ice cream maker is going to get a workout today.

6:09 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger shari said...

at least there is a happy ending! :) our landlords are so kind and let us have as many blackberries from their bushes as we want. we don't have an ice cream maker but is there a way to do this old school style? i think i read something at the splendid table about stirred ice cream. ideas? xox

6:17 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Dana McCauley said...

Good neighbours are such a blessing. I've been lucky over the years to have many of them. I think that I am always giving people food helps to break down barriers but once in a while you do get a neighbour who makes you fantasize about privacy fencing.

6:28 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Bellini Valli said...

Blackberries grow wild all over the coast of British Columbia...but alas I live in the interior without a berry in site..only Saskatoon berries and Oregon grapes.

7:03 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Patrice said...

Has anyone tried making this with a sugar substitute (pox on me, I know)? It's just that my middle-aged menopausal body can't tolerate that much sugar, but I want to try it so badly...

7:04 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Hillary said...

That's so funny. I guess Seattle is rampant with blackberries because my brother who lives there has blackberries in the bushes behind his house too (that he obviously didn't plant and doesn't really consider "his" because they were just there when he moved in). People come by asking if they could pick some all the time and he just tells them to go right ahead, they're not his.

He did get his chance to make a terrific compote though, don't you worry!

7:47 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Erin said...

That is my favorite of David's recipes! I will have to try it with blackberries.

What a stingy lady, but at least she didn't turn the hose on you.

8:00 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Rachel said...

Oh yum. My ice cream maker has been underused and sad lately - this might be just the recipe to perk it up.

8:08 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Sabayon said...

I can't believe blackberries are a "weed of concern" to King county. I spent most of my childhood climbing around blackberry brambles in King country and I still think it' worth putting up with the dried brambles all winter for the delicious, delicious berries.
Damn, now I want blackberries. Oh, and should you put up more jam, a generous glug (about a cup per pound) of cassis in the mixture is delicious and really brings out some of the more nuanced flavors of the berry.

8:27 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Rosiecat said...

Summer fruit is so ambrosial without any adornment that I just can't, CANNOT bring myself to do anything but eat it raw. I'm working up the courage to do it, though! I think I'll start with simple raw fruit concoctions.

The comments on this essay are as good as the essay itself! Jen and Wendy, you are very wise...and Wendy is especially sneaky!

8:28 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger The Mouse said...

This looks sooo good! I have never tried to make frozen yogurt and now i'm wondering why. Just wish blackberries weren't so expensive at our farmer's market! what i would give for my very own hedge from which to pluck them...

9:21 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Roo said...

Another response: oh, I'm sorry, I'll be happy to make up for it with dinner tomorrow night.

Not a nice way for her to communicate but are you 100% sure where the property line is?

Being a good neighbor is indeed, a recipe for making good neighbors.

10:00 AM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Maija said...

Okay, I grew up in the NW, and who in the hell PLANTS blackberries?? That is just ridiculous, and you have my blood boiling for you, Molly. Blackberries just grow in the NW everywhere, why would you purchase a bush? I can't even bring myself to BUY blackberries at the farmer's market - it seems just wrong.

On a side note, last summer at my old house, my dead-end neighbors ruined a beautiful blackberry growing spot by tearing down all the vines to add a poorly designed driveway. They used the driveway once, then realized it was too steep & there was barely room for them to turn around in it. Plus, there was a silly gate on it that you had to get out of your car to open. Never saw them use it again. Such a dumb project!

10:19 AM, August 19, 2008  
OpenID duchessjane.com said...

I moved into my house last spring and immediately went to work getting the yard in shape. The previous owner had left things in really terrible condition.

I was ripping up this giant broad-leafed weed when my neighbor peered over the fence and yelled "What are you DOING?! That's rhubarb! It takes rhubarb 10 years to become that established! Why would you rip it out?"

I responded "Oh, no! This isn't rhubarb, I love rhubarb and intend to plant some, but this is just a weed that sort of looks like it."

She argued with me, growing more agitated and loud every time I disagreed that no, this weed in my hand is not rhubarb.

Finally, she opened the gate between our yards, marched into my yard, grabbed a stalk of the plant out of my discard pile, shouted "THIS IS RHUBARB!" and took a bite of it. Her face showed that it definitely wasn't rhubarb.

She threw the weed back into the pile, stomped back into her own yard, and hasn't said a word to me since.

10:37 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Erin said...

What a witch! I probably would have cried and then wished that very evil things would befall her. I'm glad she's gone (probably someone dropped a house on her head) and that you have lovely people next door. I'm sure they are very appreciative of your baked goods and treats.

10:39 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Roo said...

Me, that's who. I can totally see myself planting blackberries if I had a yard to plant them in. Especially in the NW, where they would grow well. I planted gooseberries and currants in the community yard in my apartment building more than a decade ago. I was heartbroken when I saw our landlord rip them out a few years later even after I told her what they were.

It sounds like Molly made a reasonable mistake, but, yeah, if it's in a yard, someone may have planted it or not, but requires tending it, cutting it back, mowing around it, etc. to keep it there. Wild berries are usually smaller, and thornier than planted ones.

Talking to them about why they aren't picking it might come out as "well, don't pick any the week before my grandkids come" or "my son promised he'd help me pick the pears but he's been so busy..."

The saddest part to me about the cordial story is that you can make cordial out of frozen berries which are cheap compared to fresh. I'd definitely have offered to trade frozen berries for the fresh ones + work to pick them.

11:45 AM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Hi, everybody. Thank you for commiserating! I was bitter about those blackberry bushes for a long time, and I am SO glad that's behind me now. Whew.

To reply to a few things:

Rebecca, I am crazy about you. Thank you, Personal Thug.

Two pear trees, Mama JJ? You lucky lady! You should make some pear butter to give away at the holidays. Oh, and about the nectarines: I'm not sure how they would do here, but what's the worst that could happen? Right?

Sarah Beam, I hear you. Nothing makes me angrier than a "secret" recipe. Grrr. P.S. We may take you up on your Athens offer one day. Sounds pretty darn nice...

Shari, I've never tried making ice cream without an ice cream maker, but there must be a way to do it. I know granitas are traditionally made without any fancy equipment, by just freezing the mixture in a baking dish and stirring it with fork every now and then. You might look into that - or yes, see what Lynne Rossetto Kasper has to say. xo!

Bellini Valli, I have heard about Saskatoon berries here and there in recent years, and I really want to try one. Time to pack up the car and head north, I guess?

Patrice, I wish I could help, but I've never tried working with sugar substitutes. Maybe someone else will pipe up. Anyone? Please?

Roo, yes, don't worry, I do know where the property line is. The neighbor pointed it out to me when we were having our little run-in, and I confirmed it with our landlord as well. The bushes pretty much straddle it, although they do lean more toward the neighbor's side. However, the parts of the bush that I was picking from were solidly on our side. What was most annoying to me, in retrospect, is that the neighbor's compost container is also on the property line, but to reach it, she had to come into our yard, because the blackberry bushes block the entry on her side. So, clearly, the issue of whose property is whose only mattered when she decided it did. Ah well. Oh, and yes, like you, I can imagine planting a berry bush, even though they grow wild here. But I would take care that it was well maintained and confined, and if I had no fence and it straddled the property line, I would be happy to share.

Duchess Jane, that is AMAZING. Ha! I love it. Did you do a victory dance after she went back into her yard?

12:42 PM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to be the odd one out, but I have to disagree with your reaction.

I know you were embarrassed(which shows you knew you probably should have asked first), but you picked fruit off HER blackberry bush.

She can do whatever she wants with it, whether it be a weed or roots of gold.

After reading some of the other reader's posts I have a feeling these are the same people that when driving cut people off, and when they get honked at they give the middle finger instead of waving an I'm sorry, as if for some reason they have been the ones put out.

12:45 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Anonymous, you are certainly entitled to disagree with me, but I have to disagree with you on a couple of points:

1. I was embarrassed because I had been scolded. And because I was terribly surprised at having been scolded.

2. I had no way of knowing, until she told me, that the bush was not every bit as much mine as hers. As I wrote, it straddled the property line, and there is no fence. It could have been mine, hers, or no one's.

Had she spoken to me in a more kind way, rather than cursing at me, I think my feelings would have been very different. That's what was most upsetting.

12:56 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Kasey said...

Molly--this recipe sounds amazing and refreshing to say the least. Despite it being gloomy and gray in San Francisco, I can't wait to get my hands on an ice cream maker and pull this together!

2:41 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Maria said...

I just love blackberries. They are one of my favorites!They used to grow wild by our house..I miss those days!

3:13 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Judy said...

I'm glad you get to enjoy the blackberries now. Don't you just love David's book? I don't know what I'd do without it. I love your story Molly.

4:14 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Lizzie said...

that first poloroid, of the sorbet, is simply divine. it takes food photography to a whole new level! lovely.

5:16 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Chanterelle said...

This is beating a dead horse, really, but if you were picking from the branches that encroached on your property I'm not sure your possessive neighbor really had any grounds for chasing you away. What could she have done if you'd trimmed the branches that intruded into your yard? IANAL but I think that's legal (though admittedly contentious).

Patrice, agave nectar is a low glycemic index sweetener. It's sweeter than sugar, so you can use less, and as an invert-type sugar would have the desired textural role, keeping the frozen confection soft. I plan on trying a recipe for lemon frozen kefir that calls for agave nectar. I just wish I had some fresh blackberries to add!

Shari, Harold McGee had a recent NY Times piece about making ice cream without an ice cream maker: you put the mixture in a heavy duty zip-top bag and submerge the bag in a bowl filled with brine and ice cubes. You massage it every time it becomes semi-frozen, and voila, ice cream! Here's the permalink:


5:42 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger rainbowbrown said...

Your new neighbors sound lovely. It's good to hear the hoarder is gone, meanwhile, can I vent for a moment? I've got a gigantic blackberry bush/wall along my apartment and though my neighbors and I all gladly share the bounty with each other, I was flabbergasted recently when I saw a hired gardener chainsawing off the whole side of it. *sigh* The thing is producing berries right now, but I can't reach any of them, all I can reach now are bare branches torn of their foliage. Having a berry bush in your yard is fantastic and when I found mine gone it was the first time in a while I got truly angry.

Oh, sorry. I suppose seeing someone else so happy about blackberries brought out the need to share. :)

8:06 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Kady said...

I can relate to not wanting to make a stink with the neighbors. I'm in Ballard and trying to play nice. Tip: blackberries in Discovery Park and Green Lake are ripe NOW! GO! GO! GO!!!

9:46 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Miriam Leigh said...

The thing is, the fruit of a blackberry bush all tends to mature in a matter of two or three days. Unless she's a marathon canner, she couldn't possibly use it all herself. And what, did she miss the first day of Kindergarten when they teach you how to share? Good grief.

10:07 PM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous alisa said...

That is hilarious! Yummy recipe too.

10:29 PM, August 19, 2008  
Anonymous Julie said...

I am so making this with the tub of black currants I have lurking in my fridge. I just made a similar frozen ice cream-yogurt with roasted peaches and brown sugar. Aint summer grand?

11:14 PM, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Sylvie said...

I want a back yard with blackberries! I'm jealous! What a lovely woman your neighbour must have been (not)!

3:09 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Leslie said...

Unrelated to blackberries and less-than-pleasant neighbors (mine were sitting around a fire pit last night playing bongo drums...no joke), I made your "Winning Hearts and Minds" cake for the first time yesterday and am in love! The only problem is that I am eating multiple slices a day and should probably stop before my thighs burst forth from the seams of my jeans. I think you mentioned freezing it, which would be a good solution. Any suggestions for wrapping/freezing/thawing successfully?

I also tried your flour tortillas with some fajitas and homemade salsa last weeekend (and let's not forget the margaritas). They turned out perfectly and left us a stash for the freezer as well. The next time you head to Oklahoma City, have Brandon pick up some tortillas at Ted's on May. They are almost like pancakes and are brought in endless supply...nothing like it.

7:57 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Haley said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email haleyglasco@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)



8:39 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Alexa said...

I enjoyed reading about your interesting ex-neighbor... It's too funny that she wanted to make blackberry cordial which also means someone friendly and nice- not just liqueur. I love linguistic ironies. The frozen yogurt recipe looks wonderful... too bad our sunshine is gone for now. I'm sure it will be back though just long enough for me to try it out. Thanks for a fun post.

8:39 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger cindy* said...

i used the same recipe this last weekend, but with roasted peaches. so tasty and simple. glad that the blackberry hoarder left the block!

8:52 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Rosiecat said...

Leslie, I want neighbors who play bongos (bongoes?) around a fire pit! Any openings for new residents around your neighborhood? :-)

9:31 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Leslie said...

Rosiecat, as a matter of fact, there is a cute little house for rent right across the street! Come on down to Memphis and we'll show you a good time! They are actually very sweet people with a real talent for the bongos. On a Friday or Saturday night, I would have been right over there with them!

10:05 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Leslie, I know. Isn't that cake dangerous? I made one for our anniversary and wound up forcing half of it on some friends, because I couldn't stop eating it.

But anyway, yes, it freezes beautifully, so that's a perfect solution. If you have a piece of clean cardboard lying around, or a cardboard cake circle, just transfer it onto that (or onto a plate that you don't mind putting in the freezer), wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap, and then wrap it again in foil. Then freeze. Thaw at room temperature (it takes a good 12 hours, I find), still wrapped. It works like a charm.

And thanks for the reminder about Ted's! The group of guys I used to hang out with in high school LOVED that place. I remember going there with them and eating tons of warm tortillas with butter. Ahhh.

11:59 AM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Hillary said...

I have heard that too much blackberry cordial can make for a nasty hangover ... perhaps that was her problem!

Regardless, here's to limitless berries and kind neighbors!

12:55 PM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Meg said...

I definitely agree she has a British accent. I also envision mousey brown hair pulled up in an unconfortable bun, a navy dress with a lace collar and sensible shoes.

I too would have been speechless at that moment, but once I went inside I would have been so pissed, I'd have gone to the nearest hardware store for a can of Traffic Cone Orange spray paint and drawn a firm line down the property line and through the bush. Yeah! That'll show her!

I love your blog. It's a real pleasure to read. Thank you.

4:42 PM, August 20, 2008  
Anonymous Jo said...

I wanted to let you know that I'm in love with your blog. Everytime I read it I wish I was in Seattle too enjoying a mild summer and some rain. I actually spent about 2-3 weeks of random time at work reading every entry from the beginning and every day I couldn't wait to read more stories and get some great new recipes (which are pretty fantastic despite the apricot torte with apricots that were FAR to sour but ice cream fixes everything right?)

Anyway, I just finally wanted to let you know how much I love to escape to the world of Orangette. I even made some of the choc. chip cinnamon sugar banana bread tonite that was deeelicious and inspired me to say hello.

10:14 PM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger TD said...

We live in a development that was an old fruit farm--we have fig bushes, pears, apples, and plums all on an adjoining piece of land that belongs to my uncle (so I have free run of the place!).

The last two years my little cousins were living in the house on the property, and they went around and systematically whacked the daylights out of every single piece of fruit on every bush and tree. I could have cried.

This year my children are the ones around and they don't seem at all interested in whacking fruit (thank heaven! It must be an inherited respect for the fact that they're FOOD--yummy, yummy food). So I have the prospect of a Fall full of apple, plum, fig, and pear everything! I can hardly wait!!!

Oh, and since we're on Bainbridge, we have ten million blackberries too. My son and his friend want to open a "blackberry stand" where people give them a dollar and the boys let them pick blackberries. I can't bring myself to tell them that most people don't bother paying for blackberries on Bainbridge; they just go to the public park and pick them!

Perhaps I'll tell them I'll make them some blackberry turnovers if they pick them and bring them to me, and I'll sneak in a little of this frozen yogurt for myself!

8:03 AM, August 21, 2008  
Anonymous Mel said...

Good golly molly...I have been on the fence about buying and ice cream maker and your blackberry recipe has pushed me over. Any recommendations on a good brand?

8:28 AM, August 21, 2008  
Blogger Kitchen Flavours said...

There is a suprise for you in my blog. Click here to know what the suprise is, http://kitchenflavours.blogspot.com/2008/07/fruit-chaat.html

10:45 AM, August 21, 2008  
Blogger r said...

That looks positively scrumptious. Actually everything on your blog looks scrumptious... I swear real food does not look like that. *drool*

11:08 AM, August 21, 2008  
Anonymous Trisha said...

I've been spending my day reading stories to a snuffly 5-year-old (an activity I really love, despite the snuffles). Then I got to read one of your stories to myself (another activity I'm quite fond of) and it was just the diversion I needed. Thanks.

1:44 PM, August 21, 2008  
Anonymous mb said...

Oh, that David
I read his blog frequently, have had his book checked out from the library for months - I just keep renewing it. I finally broke down and bought it and it arrived yesterday - perhaps I shall go pick some blackberries

1:58 PM, August 21, 2008  
Anonymous ashley said...

Blackberries can become an obsession, albeit an anti-oxidant laden, free-radical fighting one. Some friends of mine and I recently picked 10 pounds of the bejeweled lovelies, and made them into blackberry mint jam and blackberry jalapeno jam. Truly the stuff of dreams!

2:54 PM, August 21, 2008  
Blogger Kate said...

What is it with Ballard neighbors? I moved to Ballard a couple years ago and got in a similar stink with the lady next door, but about the curb parking in front of her house. She thought (still thinks) it's her reserved parking space, not the city of Seattle's property, and came knocking on my door one Saturday at 7:30 am to demand that I move my car out of her parking spot. Why don't you move back to the U-District? she yelled. Why don't you move back to Bellevue? I wish I'd yelled back. I still catch her watching me from her front window when I pull up to the front curb.

Anyway, I can't wait to try your frozen yogurt--with marionberries!

3:46 PM, August 21, 2008  
Anonymous jackie Alpers said...

That is a very funny story.

4:22 PM, August 21, 2008  
Blogger Doris said...

I'm glad your mean neighborhood is no longer there. I grew up with mean neighborhoods next door (and "mean" is putting it politely). But moving on, your blackberry frozen yogurt looks great! Hmm, definitely something to try soon before the summer ends!

6:32 PM, August 21, 2008  
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6:51 PM, August 21, 2008  
Blogger redmenace said...

I find it very hard to believe that anyone in Seattle would actually plant a blackberry bush. Her pants are totally on fire. I have my own secret stash in West Seattle. You will have to kill me to find out!

6:54 PM, August 21, 2008  
Anonymous Julie said...

So this neighbour presumably thought nothing of inviting herself over into your yard whenever she needed to pick "her" blackberries?

8:49 AM, August 22, 2008  
Anonymous Ali said...

Oh, for happy endings!

This reminds me so much of my father's apple trees. Briefly... one day my dad went outside and found a neighbor (with a chainsaw) cutting down 1 of our 2 apple trees, terming it an 'eyesore'. Dad was so angry. Fighting angry. But the damage was done & the tree was a stump. Tree #2 stopped flowering of course. And for years did not produce apples.

Well, last year dad died and this spring while cutting the grass I looked up and by god it had flowered! I peeked thru the fence and the NEW neighbors had planted a flowering crab apple, which I suppose made it possible for our apple to flower! Wonder of wonders.

10:42 AM, August 22, 2008  
Blogger Alejandra said...

I love this post! What a cranky neighbor; how fortunate that you got rid of her. Although I admit if it had been me I would have probably spent all my time scheming on how to get the berries like some kind of old-fashioned cartoon (sneaking in the night, etc.) The ice cream looks beautiful...such wonderful colors. I plan to try.

11:26 AM, August 22, 2008  
Blogger Nancy said...

I just wanted you to know that so enjoy reading your blog. I am an ex-chef cooking in So Cal and the Caribbean. I am now waiting for a liver transplant but still LOVE food and cooking. I have even started taking more food photos! People used to think I was crazy..Now they know...

I invite you to take a look at my blog and let me know what you think!


5:52 PM, August 23, 2008  
Blogger Botacook said...

Nice story which ends up well : you 'won' 2 nicer neighbours and this recipe looks gorgeous and perfect to make the most of summer berries!

1:23 AM, August 25, 2008  
Anonymous Kate said...

I'm late to the party, but I'll add my two cents anyway!

I agree with Chanterelle, there are lots of details and restrictions regarding property lines. Of course, I don't know them. :)

Ali, I just don't understand why someone would do that without at least talking to the owner first! Years ago my mom's neighbor ripped out some bushes that my grandfather had planted, at the home he built, and both she and I grew up in.
Of course, it was in the middle of the day, so there was no chance of stopping the gardeners. She claimed it was on her property... Until my mom had the county come out and mark it. And with a little "encouragement" from a lawyer we had some new foliage planted, but it's not the same.
It's just so darn rude!

4:31 PM, August 25, 2008  
Blogger Caroline said...

I made it yesterday. It came out SOOO good. We had some for desert (perfect after a swiss chard lasagne and a salad) and I ate the rest straight out of the freezer after I came back from teaching my first class today.

8:33 PM, August 25, 2008  
Blogger Alice Q. said...

Hi Molly - I'm with Julie - what was she going to do, come over to your yard to pick "her" blackberries?? Scary neighbors are a nightmare, how glad you must be that she's gone!

11:17 PM, August 25, 2008  
Blogger Barbara said...

Molly, come move in next to me, I'll plant berry bushes galore for you if you'll share your delicious scones! I haven't made a single recipe yet that you've recommended that hasn't been exquisite. You should have given her a scone, she'd probably tell you to pick them anytime so long as you share ;)

9:03 AM, August 26, 2008  
Blogger Ann said...

What a rude woman your neighbor was. I was going to say that I hope she was forcibly moved to the Norse Home, or Ida Culver, or some other assisted living facility, but that would be unkind (not to mention how miserable it would be for her unsuspecting fellow residents). And, rough on the family that had to move her!

Your recipe sounds great, Molly. I might have to try and pick some of my own blackberries, tho they should still be selling them at the farmer's market on Sunday. And if they have no Skagit valley berries, there will be nice Yakima valley peaches and nectarines. Actually, I'm craving fresh off-the-tree apples already, which indicates that my body believes that fall is here. It usually doesn't do that until football season starts, but if it means an early apple pie or pan-dowdy, so be it!

And FYI, I agree that our short WA summer is over. Last night, I came home and made a tuna casserole!

8:40 PM, August 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made it this morning, with raspberries, and proceeded to eat for breakfast...a dash of vodka in my morning yogurt is ok??? It is just delicious and the color is amazing!

5:18 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger amisha said...

so glad that your new neighbors are so friendly! that makes such a difference, doesn't it?
can't wait to try this recipe with e. we made our own yogurt for the first time when i was home (first time for me... he was an old hand from his vermont days!) and this sounds like a great use to put it to :)

6:37 AM, August 28, 2008  
Blogger tehstotehara said...

What a jerk face berry nazi! I'm glad the new girls are willing to share. And I can't wait to try this! Blackberries, mmmmmmmmmmm. Who could bogart something so delicious?

9:04 PM, August 29, 2008  
Blogger TonyM said...

What an excellent post - and the recipe looks great too - being a Brit the Helen Mirren/QE2 former neighbour would, of course hold no fears for me! Tony M

2:15 AM, September 03, 2008  
Anonymous Angela said...

Good neighbours are worth their weight in gold. I'd positively welcome someone blackberrying in my garden... it doesn't seem fair that the birds are the ones feasting upon them.

1:29 PM, September 05, 2008  
Blogger Mandy said...

thanks for the recipe. Not having the good fortune of free blackberries at the backyard, I made a version of this with frozen mixed berries based on your recipe. it's still very delicious! I can understand why you churn batch after batch of this. :)

4:14 PM, September 09, 2008  
Anonymous David Lee said...

This is looking very good. I like very much blackberry. This pics make my mouthwater.

11:44 PM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous kojojojo said...

it looks so delicious.......

9:31 PM, May 17, 2010  

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